I’m currently reading Perec’s blindingly awesome Life – a User’s Manual. It’s um.. hard to describe. A collection of 99 short fictions, intimately crosslinked in a very complex fashion; telling many stories – four or five big ones, lots of little ones on the way; and built around an extraordinarily complex set of writing constraints, described in brief here (in French, although the Wikipedia entry tries to describe it a bit too). All in the form of descriptions of each room of an apartment block in Paris at a single moment of time in 1975. And yet, at the same time, wandering all over the world and history in the descriptions of the rooms and the people in them.

Part of the joy of it is the beauty of the writing and the fun of the stories, but there’s an awful lot of fun to be had trying to figure out the systems he used…

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